Here are the most expensive small towns with the big city housing prices according to LendingTree. The lure of small-town living has never been greater as we saw with the recent migration from city to suburbs and beyond.
LendingTree recently analyzed the 50 towns in the United States with populations under 50,000 that had the most expensive home values. They then ranked the towns based on where home values were the highest and also compared home values in these towns to home values in the nation’s 50 largest cities.
Towns that made the top ten on the list include Vineyard Haven, MA., Summit Park, UT., Jackson WY., Breckenridge, CO., Steamboat Springs, CO., Heber, UT., Hood River, OR., Gardnerville Ranchos, NV., Juneau, AK., and Hailey, ID. It’s interesting to note that full-time residents in these pricey towns “tend to earn less income than they would in a city,” according to LendingTree.
Small towns boasting the most expensive homes in the nation include Vineyard Haven, Massachusetts (located on Martha’s Vineyard), Summit Park, Utah, and Jackson, Wyoming.
LendingTree Chief Economist Tandayi Kapfidze shares one surprise from the list. “Juneau, Alaska being in the top ten might be kind of surprising to some people. Alaska has this reputation of being really cheap, especially because of the myth that the state government will pay you to live there (in reality Alaskans only get about 1600 a year in oil royalties, and then they’re on their own). What people might not realize is that Alaska can get really expensive.”
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Given Alaska’s remote location, “it can cost a lot of money to get stuff there which drives up the price of basic goods and services. On top of that, Juneau has a lot of natural attractions like Auke Lake or the Eaglecrest Ski Area, which make it a popular place to live. As a result, if you really dig into the economy/geography of Juneau, it makes sense for its home prices to be so high,” Kapfidze adds.
Here’s an inside look at the top three towns on the list and the basic metrics behind the ranking.
Vineyard Haven, Massachusetts ranks number one with a total population of 17,321. The median home value there is $667,400. Summit Park, Utah’s population is 40,511. The median home value is $598,900. Jackson, Wyoming’s population is 34,139. Median home value is the lowest of the top three at $563,1000.
“It might throw some people off that towns in Connecticut or Rhode Island aren’t on the list because those states tend to get pretty pricey. The reason for this is because we’re comparing micropolitan and metropolitan areas and not individual towns to individual cities. As a result, really expensive towns like Darien, Connecticut don’t show up on our list because they’re included in larger Metropolitan or Micropolitan areas,” Kapfidze explains.
Living in an expensive small town holds much appeal right now. Looking forward to post-pandemic times it will be interesting to see how home values hold up.